children's books · illustration

bookworms

I’ve been focussing on creating new black and white work recently but when these guys came along I realised they needed a little colour. They are bookworms discussing the merits of “Maisie Hitchins -The Case of the Stolen Sixpence” and the Victorian era in general when lots of people (and worms) really enjoyed wearing top hats. This picture is put together using drawing and collage and features a Marion wallpaper design in the background.

children's workshops · illustration

Maisie Hitchins at Yaxley library

On Wednesday I had a wonderful time at Yaxley Library working with children from Fourfields Primary School and Yaxley Infant School. The children learnt about how to begin illustrating a book and how to come up with characters. After a little drawing practice using Maisie Hitchins and Bella Donna‘s cat Pegatha for inspiration, the children created their own crazy collage creatures. Thanks a million to Sue and to Richard from Cambridgeshire libraries who are both worth their weight in gold. Below are some examples of the children’s rather fabulous work!

children's books · illustration

Maisie travels the world

I’m delighted to find myself in possession of some of the co-edition copies of the first three Maisie Hitchins stories. It seems that intrepid Maisie has now travelled to France, Poland, Indonesia and America! I love to see the differences between the books, the Amercian edition for example uses a little scroll for the series title “The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins” and underneath its dust jacket the book is a perfect reproduction of the notebook that Maisie carries everywhere with her – what a lovely detail. Thanks so much to Emily at Stripes Publishing for rounding these up for me!

The Case of the Stolen Sixpence in American and Indonesian editions.
The Case of the Stolen Sixpence in American and Indonesian editions.
The Case of the Phantom Cat in American and French editions.
The Case of the Phantom Cat in American and French editions.
The Case of the Vanishing Emerald in Polish and French editions.
The Case of the Vanishing Emerald in Polish and Indonesian editions.
American hardback copy of The Case of the Phantom Cat
American hardback copy of The Case of the Phantom Cat
Phantom Cat interior - American edition
Phantom Cat interior – American edition
Maisie book stack
Maisie book stack
children's books · illustration

Maisie Hitchins – The Case of the Weeping Mermaid

May saw the launch of the last story in Holly Webb‘s wonderful mystery series Maisie Hitchins. This book is called The Case of the Weeping Mermaid and its action centres around dark and mysterious London docks which were the perfect setting for a front cover. I took photos as I was painting the cover so that I would later remember the different stages and here they all are below from the sketchiest beginnings to the final scan. I always find it challenging painting covers, they seem to go through a lot of different stages and look fairly awful for most of the time until suddenly at the end it all comes together – always a bit of a relief!

Here is the sketch for the cover ready to be transferred onto watercolour paper, as you can probably see I changed my mind about how the clouds were going to look!
Here is the sketch for the cover ready to be transferred onto watercolour paper, as you can probably see I changed my mind about how the clouds were going to look!
Here is the cover all drawn out on watercolour paper and I've just begun painting with the most important bit - Maisie!
Here is the cover all drawn out on watercolour paper and I’ve just begun painting the most important bit – Maisie! As you can see the sketch is to hand and I’m working in acrylic ink. There is a lot of empty space here which is to allow for the title and Holly’s name which will come later.
Here you can see the monotone background is beginning to appear, everything is still quite pale.
Here you can see the monotone background is beginning to appear, everything is still quite pale.
I've kept on working into the background to boost the colour and tone and to strengthen the shadows, and Maisie is getting more vibrant too.
I’ve kept on working into the background to boost the colour and tone and to strengthen the shadows, clouds are beginning to appear and Maisie is getting more vibrant.
Now the cover is nearly finished; I've added highlights to give the feel of moonlight and everything has an outline to bring it all into sharp focus.
Now the cover is nearly finished; I’ve added highlights to give the feel of moonlight and everything has an outline to bring it all into sharp focus.
Here is the finished image, scanned this time. The tendrils of mist were the last thing to arrive, they were made by painting dilute white acrylic ink over the top of the painting.
Here is the finished image, scanned this time. The tendrils of mist were the last thing to arrive, they were made by painting dilute white acrylic ink over the top of the painting.
Here is the finished cover as it looks with all the text in place - what a difference!
Here is the finished cover as it looks with all the text in place – what a difference!
children's books · illustration

The Case of the Blind Beetle…

A new Maisie Hitchins book has hit the shelves, this one is the 7th in the series and a special favourite of mine because it is so very yellow! This book has an Egyptian theme so I got to draw mummies, sphinxes and burial chambers which I can tell you is a first. Holly Webb has excelled herself this time and Maisie gets into more trouble than ever – it’s a good one! Here are some pictures:

not sleepy

leggy

the parcel

illustration

Inky and Dotty

I have just finished my roughs for the next Maisie Hitchins book so it’s time for something a little different. This is one of the drawings I have been doing lately in my sketchbook. It was made with indian ink straight from the pot using the pipette to draw with. I rather like drawing like this because it is very spontaneous and a little bit uncontrollable. When the ink was dry I gave the drawing some colour using Caran D’ache neocolours which are another one of my favourite things. They are sort of pastelly but sort of oil-pastelly too and also can be watercoloury if you wet them! I know, it’s all a bit too much…

DOTTY

children's books · illustration

Covers – The Case of the Feathered Mask…

I was asked recently to do some writing for a rather lovely blog called Wonderous Reads which is all about books! Wonderous Reads were interested to know what goes into making a Maisie Hitchins cover, so I put together my thoughts as well as a couple of early sketches for The Case of the Feathered Mask and made a post. It you would like to read about how the Maisie Hitchins covers come into being then have a look here: Marion Lindsay Talks Covers It is a super blog and well worth keeping an eye on if you are a book-lover like me!

MH4_cover_rough2

children's books · illustration

Maisie Hitchins is on the loose again

I have new Maisie Hitchins books to report!

Holly Webb has been doing lots of writing and I have been doing lots of drawing and the result can be seen in the form of  The Phantom Cat, The Feathered Mask and The Secret Tunnel which are all out now. As well as scampering all over London in her adventures, Maisie’s stories are heading over to America where the first book in the series “The Case of the Stolen Sixpence” is going to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September. The Case of the Spilled Ink will be coming out in the UK in August too, but I can’t show you any pictures yet I’m afraid! For now here are the new covers:

The Case of the Secret Tunnel

The Case of the Feathered Mask

The Case of the Phantom Cat

American edition Stolen Sixpence

children's books · illustration

Maisie Hitchins hits the shelves!

Both the first book The Case of the Stolen Sixpence and the second The Case of the Vanishing Emerald were released in May and are proving to be popular with small would-be sleuths across the country! You can read some lovely reviews by children on Little Tiger Press’ website and below are some sneak-peeks inside the Stolen Sixpence…

MH_chapter1

MH_dressing up

MH_prof_tobin

Maisie Hitchins and the Case of the Stolen Sixpence
Maisie Hitchins and the Case of the Stolen Sixpence
Maisie Hitchins and the Case of the Vanishing Emerald
Maisie Hitchins and the Case of the Vanishing Emerald